Local students surprised with scholarships to GWU

(WJLA) - He thought it was just a routine band performance, but then this surprise happened: Tailon Jackson no longer has to worry about how he will pay for college.

On Tuesday, he was awarded the Trachtenberg Scholarship for a full ride to George Washington University.

"They started talking about the Trachtenberg Scholarship and I'm thinking to myself, 'wait a minute, I applied for that this? No, it could not be me, it's not me,'" he said.

"I am so overwhelmed and I am so proud of Tailon. I'm very thankful to GW," said his mother, Helena Jackson.

Eight students from half a dozen D.C. high schools were surprised with the news on Tuesday.

"It inspires everyone in the school, so it's great for the student that gets it, [and] it's great for us because we're attracting wonderful talented students to our programs," said President Steve Knapp of George Washington University.

Reniya Dinkins was one of three students at Banneker High School awarded the scholarship:

"I'm shocked but I'm really, really honored," she said. "This is great. I can't wait to join the GW community."

Her parents are thrilled that the financial burden has been lifted, and are both incredibly proud of their daughter.

"She is a hard-working individual and this is evidence of it. This is a rare opportunity and an honor, so we're just so excited for her," said her father.